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Reports from the front
By: Barry Rigal

Originally Published in The Daily Bulletin, March 16, 2000

When you lose a Vanderbilt match by 13 IMPs, it is hard not to focus on the mistakes you made that cost the match. Then you start thinking about the bad luck that has terrorized you sufficiently to keep you from publishing the details of 3 +1 gaining 5 IMPs against 6NT down one when AQx opposite K10xxx failed to play for five tricks.

But instead I’d like to focus on the good bridge played by our opponents. We played all 48 of our boards against Fred Gitelman and Brad Moss, and I’d like to say it was a pleasure to play against them.

They did three very good things to help their team’s cause. See what you think. First Brad, North, had

Brad heard his LHO open 1. His partner doubled and RHO passed. He bid 3 (he wanted to bid 2 but he thought so long that he felt that he was barred from doing that). Over 3NT he bid 4, and partner bid 4NT. What now? He passed, and this was the full deal:

Well, I guess if you are not going to make the obvious pass of 1 (it is not cheap, is it?), playing 4NT is pretty good. Plus 630 gained 13 IMPs.

Next came a decision for Fred.

You open 1 and hear 2 on your left and 3 from partner. Fred had a tough decision. He elected to bid 3NT and scored a big gain. Facing

3NT was trivial with the A-K onside, but when trumps split badly there were only nine tricks in each contract.

Finally came this exhibit - see where you’d like to apportion blame and credit.

Before this board was scored up, we trailed in the match by 4 IMPs. Our teammates had bid to 5 doubled for 950, so any normal result would win the match for us. This was the auction at our table:

Gitelman’s raise to 6 meant that either East or West had to sacrifice to win the match. Once South is known to be 7-6, declarer can overcome the threatened trump promotion and escape for minus 500 in 6 doubled.

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